Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Learning to rise above...

"A beautiful flower begins it's life in the dirt. - Rise, baby, rise!" 6Elements Consulting & Coaching

A very good friend of mine got me thinking the other day about the above quote (check her out, she rocks!!!) ... it challenged me to think about the various trials and choices in my life that could have kept me "stuck" or "moving forward!"  It has not been easy to clean out the dirt in my life, but it has beyond worth it. 

I am choosing to look at each situation that I encounter in my life with humility.  Whoa, huge!  It's not easy to look at oneself and say, err oops - I think I've got a pride issue!?  Isn't it just so easy to shift the blame on the situation or a person? 

For far too long, I walked around with a "victim" attitude.  I felt I deserved to behave certain ways (poorly, might I add) because I had been hurt by various people and trials in my life.  It was as if I gave myself a free pass to misbehave.  Of course, now looking back I wish I had listened to the mentors placed in my life, and had taken a "square" path, it certainly would have caused less pain to overcome today.  Our choices today not only impact the now, but also the future.  It's been a humbling, painful, yet freeing lesson to learn.  I feel blessed to be able to walk with some incredible women that can be transparent about where they came from, where they are going, and the dirty moments that got them to rise above.  

Keep digging up the dirt because it can produce such great beauty when you allow the Healer to clean that mess up... <3  Whoot!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Which fork at the road...???

Sometimes it's just hard to know.
Let go. Let God!
Just be there.
Choose light.
Thankful for my Roo <3
Breath.... Pray!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Embracing Light...

That's what I say over and over to myself, to God, to others...

Life has its moments of sadness, unhappy, unfair, ugly, just down right awful times... but they are just that... MOMENTS!  I encourage you when you are in that unhappy "moment" - choose Love.  Choose to find the one thing to be thankful for.  When you are thankful, you can't be ungrateful. 

So challenge yourself to just choose an attitude of gratitude... the dark won't last long, if you choose to lean and embrace the light.  Ask what am I to learn from this seemingly dark moment?

I send you the love that is within me...
I hug you with all that I am...
We are not broken.  We are growing.  Choose growth.  Let there be light... <3

Find the rock/solid foundation that will hold you up.  It's exactly why I look up! (to Him)


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thankful for love...

Some of my greatest teachers pictured below, not all by ANY stretch of the means, but I did want to take a time out to shout out to some of my favorite Loves.  Just to say Thank you!

Not all the choices I made were they fans of, but they loved me past my selfish ways.  Sometimes the path to learning to be selfless hurts those we love the most.  So for those who are not pictured here - You are STILL very much loved by me and you know who YOU are.  Thank you for loving me past my shortcoming and encouraging me to grow in a heart like His <3

Two of my favorite little love bugs! These two teach me the value of Love and patience.  It's my desire to be a better woman... I am trying you two. I am a work in process! You two have my heart always.  
I love you!

Thank you for encouraging me to grow to be a better stepmom all around.  It's been such a blessing to be part of your life... the best gift in the destruction of divorce.  I love you two!

Thank you to the Godly man of my life... Thank you for accepting me as I am.  I desire to be a better wife every single day, not because of you, but because of Him.  For always treating me a Queen!  Encouraging The Warrior Princess that I am... <3  Each day we will grow together and that excites me beyond words... I love you!

It is my prayer that you embrace the love that is around you... take a moment and pause and give thanks for the things you do have, instead of focusing on what you "think" you are missing!  I bet you are not and YOU are enough... <3


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Beauty from dirt...

Isaiah 61:3 states, “To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (feelings of depression/despair) that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

Learning to finally over-come past sexual abuse has been the hardest journey I have taken in my 37 years of life.  Even the experience didn't seem so difficult at the time.  Struggling with letting go of emotions such as shame, guilt, fear, and trust has been hard.  I used to think, "how can I trust a God, whom I felt was not there for me in the hardest of time? " Yet, looking back now, He is the one who protected me, held me, cherished me through evil acts of mankind.  The one who kept me prisoner to those feelings was the devil (the enemy of mankind/the deceiver).  He fed my mind with feelings of dirty and unworthy, not God.  (Genesis 50:20 - But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.)

The questions I ask myself now are:
What can I do with the experiences (painful/life-changing) I've gone through to show His Love & Grace? (Forgiveness)
How can my suffering be used to draw closer to Him and let people know about who God is? (Character)
How can I be used to let others know they are not victims but loved by an ever loving Creator? (Serving)
Show me how to share my story with others and find Light after dark...  (Being authentic and transparent)

Believing and absolutely knowing that His good has come out of my pain, confirms Hope of a new future.  A future of Love, Mercy, and Grace. 

I am not defined by my past, nor am I prisoner to the evil acts of others.  I refuse a future filled with anger, hate, mistrust, shame, or guilt.  I choose love, forgiveness, hope, and restoration. I don't blame God for the evil of man, because He gave mankind the choice of free-will.  I do choose forgiveness because it frees my heart and allows me to truly love myself and others.  Forgiveness does not mean I condone the behavior, but it means I don't have to bear the burden.  I am free because He died on the cross to save us (all) from sin, even those who may not deserve it. (Salvation) (Matthew 6:14-15)

Do any of us deserve it?  Not so much... but I believe forgiving someone when they least deserve it allows me to be free, not a victim, and no longer stuck as a prisoner of shame or guilt!  I don't have to blame, I just have to claim (Him!!) Grace in abudance. It has been offered to me, therefore, I must offer it to others.  I'll never be perfect, but I will find perfect peace in Him and within the Truth given me. 

So for those who have asked how did I just forgive?  I chose it.  I took an active step to understand the process of healing the past.  I let go and Let God.  I could not carry the burden any longer, nor was it ever mine to carry to begin with.   Is life perfect? NO!  However, I am taking the difficult steps to lay it at the cross.  Apologizing to those who got hurt along the way because I didn't deal with painful past.  I shall stand idle no more!  Following the "light"(er) path...


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Embracing risk...

Why do we play it safe with Love?  I think it's because we want to avoid hurt and pain.  If it doesn't happen the way we envision it, we are left to feel disappointed and hurt.  Pouty with arms crossed saying, "No, I won't do this again!"

On the flip side, if we don't take a risk and just love --- isn't it possible we will stay stuck, or worse not grow?  Without pain, how can you experience Joy? 

There have been so many times that I could have justifiably said that is it, No More Love.  I could have put all my walls up (because I am good at that) and shut out Love as I know it today.  Until one day I finally got it... I thought that's it... I am just going to be open.  Take a risk. 

First, I had to know who I am and what I am about.  I had to know what my intentions were and be intentional.  I had to know what I would accept and what was a deal breaker.  Once I could speak this truth to myself, it allowed God to work in ways I never thought possible.  He brought me my imperfectly perfect (for me) Husband.  Who loves me, accepts me, challenges me, and grows me into the woman I am to become.  Is it easy? No way!  However, it's worth it.  The pain of the past has shown me Grace and Joy like I never knew possible.  I am forever grateful for this journey of Love. 

So embrace risk and just Love!  Don't stay stuck.  Be intentional.  
There is beauty and growth in the unknown!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My legacy of life...

The light at the end of the tunnel...

I do not pretend that I know much of anything, but I do profess that I want to learn as much as I can about Love, and how I can selflessly serve others.  It starts by choosing humility with those in my close circle and the people beyond them.  It is my desire for my legacy to be a "Woman who Loved with all of her heart."  <3  Deeply, authentically, passionately.

What do I do when I start to head down a path that may be dark or selfish?
I pray. I seek guidance from those I trust and love.  I uncomfortably get still, wait, and listen. 

Maya Angelou said it so well:
“While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God's creation.” 

I am not special, but I am loved.  
I am nothing, unless I have Him and love.
We are all equal and deserve compassion, empathy, and love.  

In the journey of learning love, I am discovering what I stand for, what my foundation of life is built upon, and how I can serve others by lessons I've been taught, all the while healing within.  

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but you must be willing to walk the harder path and do the work. I will continue to do my work... I have decided to do it, and I will do it! My journey.  You can too.  Never give up.  Never give in.  Choose humility.  It most certainly helps me achieve love...


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Two are better than one...

What better feeling is it to have someone or more than one in your corner/by your side?  The circle of family/friends who won't give up on you, who cheer you on, believe in you, encourage you, and love you, even when you least deserve it.  No greater gift of love, is someone who would lay down their life for a friend.  In return, I must offer the same gift I am given.

When I feel like giving up.... my circle encourages me to keep dreaming.  If I stop dreaming, I stop living.  I will choose to live.

When I feel like the situation is hopeless... my circle reminds me to put my hope in God, and to keep preserving through the stormy times, because that is where growth can occur.  I will choose to cling to hope.

When I feel like the road is too long and the cliffs feel too steep... my circle carries me, holds me, loves me through it.  I choose to keep going forward and looking up to Him.  No need to go backwards.  I take the painful lessons I have endured, and choose to apply them to the road less traveled.  I will choose to encourage others and in that He will sustain and teach me.  I will choose to be teachable. 

When it feels like I am alone... my God is always there.  It is enough for me. I am given what I need at the time I need it. I am blessed in knowing I am never alone.  I know life is unfair, but I choose to accept that.  I will choose to take each moment and bless it.  Giving thanks for the good and the bad moments.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Most of all I am thankful that my circle of love accepts me as I am.  Challenges me to be a better person. Encourages me to grow at my pace.  I also must apologize and say sorry to hose I have hurt along the way, when choosing to be in a self centered space.  I don't want to do this journey alone, and I am thankful that I have such amazing people in my life.   Thank you for continuing to hold me up and keep me accountable...


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Heart check...

Today, I am checking on my heart.  Listening to it beat.  Allowing it to move towards Love in all aspects of my life:  marriage, motherhood, daughter, sister, friend, cousin, etc.  Asking myself, am I choosing to live in a space of Love? 

More often than I care to admit, I allow my mind to be overwhelmed with "life" and I forget what Love is.  At times I forget our differences make us unique and worthy.  It's said until we can believe that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, then how can we accept and love others, if we can't accept and love ourselves.  So, today my heart and mind will choose to embrace the differences and Love anyway.  Love does not need to push its agenda, but be open and flexible (within reason).  Love allows mistakes to happen, so growth can occur.  Love them anyway!  Oh, I will love YOU anyway.  Thank you for always loving me... offering Grace.

"Love doesn’t envy, it doesn’t boast, it isn’t proud, and it doesn’t keep a record of wrongs." - Cor. 13

As the below song states (see attached link)
"Broke Your heart a thousand times
But You've never left my side
You have always been here
For me
You never let me go"

Keep me focused and aligned!

I will choose this daily! Amen <3

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

House or Home?

Always such a great question and a tough one to really argue in today's world and culture.

*Artwork by Amanda Bentley (step daughter and teacher of Love for me)
From my perspective, at least here in the Bay Area, it's a hustle and bustle, gain more, think only of myself.  Ahh, at times it can be too much. The message too confusing.  The self fulfilling message that is pushed upon us daily through media and in general feels like I can never have enough, am not enough, or can't see enough.  No, thank you.  I choose being humbled instead. 

Recently, I've had the blessing to help be part of raising another child.  He is a wonderful, lively, intelligent, 13 year old young man.  If he had his way, he might define himself as a gamer, but this Step-mom is to mean to let him sit hours upon hours playing "fake" life.  In my home, I choose to teach him about "real" life.

So, I ask what does that even look like? I believe a house is something we live in.  A home is where we can share our deepest thoughts, laugh together, cry together, be authentic and real, open and honest.  In the moments of heated passion, it can also be a learning lesson for our son.  My husband and I don't try and hide the fact that we are two Godly, yet passionate, and deep, rooted in Love indivudals.  We work hard at playing in the sandbox fairly (I am sure I could improve at not throwing so much sand).  We accept each other for our differences and embrace that we have our own creative and crazy minds.  We both strive to be open and honest with our son.  Teaching him that life is a series of lessons and the wisest learn their lessons from others.  Why re-invent the wheel? Honestly, if that path one of us took burned; why take that stinking path?  Trust me, the fun doesn't outweigh the pain. #truth

For a moment I asked, can I do this again?  Now I know, I can do all things through Him, who has created me.  So, today I will choose to be the best step-mom I can be.  Flaws and all. I will choose to let go of pride, ego, and envy.  I'll make this choice daily. Being confident in knowing, in spite of my many weaknesses, He can work powerful changes and teachings (lessons) through me.   Amen!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Being still...

For too many years it was impossible (so I thought) to sit still.  To just be okay with my thoughts and feelings.  It's as if I had to constantly stimulate my mind and choose busyness, to avoid thinking about choices made, hurts endured, and owning any consequences of my choices.

Sometimes we just need to be "knocked down" to "sit down!"

Resting. Relaxing.  Letting my body heal itself...
 Cruel day for me:  No voice (laryngitis) 

Thankful to just sit and be still with my thoughts and blessings that are all around me.